THE BEST 80’s MONSTER MOVIES by Brandon Engel

The Daves would like to once again welcome guest blogger Brandon Engel to this site, expressing his opinions on the best monster movies of the 1980’s!

An argument can be made the 1980s was the true golden age of the monster movie — a time when no theme was deemed too ridiculous and just about any inanimate object could become consumed by evil. Here are some of the “best” monster movies from the decade that gave us Pac-Man and Madonna:

 MOVIE1 Continue reading

“Digging up the Marrow” & Unearthing the Fun!


On Saturday April 4th, we arrived back in Chicago (after doing TWO zoos; Louisville and Indianapolis) and ate lasagna at my place before relaxing on this final night of our vacation. We hunkered down for the night and watched two movies together; the old sci-fi classic, It Came from Outer Space, and a new movie David had gotten on Blu-ray called Digging up the Marrow. Though we’d watched several movies during our trip on DVD, including Wolfcop (which was okay), Love in the Time of Monsters (which was also okay), What we do in the Shadows (which was really funny), Animal (which we liked),  Dark Haul (which was bad) and Muck (which was even WORSE) we inadvertently saved the best for last!

Continue reading

“The Monster Show!” Book Review


Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, and winner of our “Hidden Horror Contest,” Mark Spangler!

Book Review: “The Monster Show”

By Mark Spangler

“All monsters are expressions or symbols of some kind of birth process, however distorted or bizarre.”  So says David J. Skal in the opening sentence of chapter ten in his  book “The Monster Show” (W.W. Norton & Company).  Don’t let the name fool you.   Like many a horror film (“I Married A Monster From Outer Space” comes to mind), there’s much more substance lurking behind the exploitative title than the name – or any name – could possibly indicate. The subtitle, “A cultural history of horror” is a much more accurate depiction of what the reader will find in these well-researched and analyzed 432 pages.  From a fun-filled exploration of teen-oriented films on the 50’s drive-in circuit  to an examination of the role that horror film escapism played in helping to digest the real-life calamities of 20th century war, this book runs the gambit from the terrific terrors of the silver screen to a common-sense analysis of why these motion pictures are not only fun, but of vital importance to the culture. No stop is ignored in this horrific journey and we joyfully ride along with Mr. Skal as he explores the brilliance and tragedy of director Tod Browning’s early film work, the European influence on early-American horror cinema, freakshow biographies, , monster-comedy, and two monster kid classics; “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and Aurora model monster kits (I had the Mummy).  We also visit the artistry of make-up professionals throughout the history of the film industry, reflect upon the horror-inspired artwork of Diane Arbus, visit the late and beloved Forrest J. Ackerman in his “Ackermansion”, examine technical tidbits of films old and new  and finally end up with the real-life terrors of HIV, the Gulf War and Oprah.

Continue reading

Book Review: You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A  Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.


Continue reading

Movie Review: BENEATH Is Much Deeper Than Just A Monster Movie (And That Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing)

I have been reading about this film for some time now, both in Fangoria and HorrorHound magazines. For the most part the reviews have been favorable and I am always up for a new monster movie. This is not your typical monster on the loose film and to be honest, I wish it was. The movie I am talking about is BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden.


Continue reading

The old worn book of Monsters


“We need you to go help Santa.”

It was the last thing I wanted to hear as I strolled into the volunteer office of Brookfield Zoo the Sunday before Christmas. I’d been employed there back in the late ‘90s but, after a few years of discovering the elephants weren’t the only ones working for peanuts, decided to seek a job elsewhere. This should not, however, imply that I have any ill feelings towards the place, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’ve loved animals since I was a kid and, growing up in Chicago, this was the place that helped cultivate that. I believe in the zoo’s message as well as its conservation work which is why it was only a matter of months before I’d return as a docent and remain one ever since. Usually volunteering entails talking to the zoo’s visitors about animals but, every once in awhile, you’re asked to do something different. Helping out with their Santa Claus event would be a prime example of that.

Continue reading